The Genetics of Blame

“First came blame. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent, and we’ve been hard at it ever since.” This is how writer Charlie Campbell begins his book, Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People. Even before the ancient Hebrews were metaphorically loading down a goat with their sins and casting it out into the desert to die, I’m certain that early men and women took comfort in agreeing upon a perceived enemy as the root of their problems and targeting that person or group for destruction.

The Witch Hunt Podcast asks the simple question: Why do we have this seemingly insatiable need to create scapegoats? I’ve been addicted to every incarnation of “Law & Order” long enough to know that serial killers work in patterns – and make no mistake about it, when a group targets and destroys a perceived enemy, it’s strikingly similar to serial killer behavior.

Serial killers target their victims and humiliate them by casting them not as humans, but rather as objects of evil worthy of destruction. This is exactly how a witch hunt works.

Season One of the Witch Hunt Podcast looks at the world’s most famous literal hunt for witches: Salem, Massachusetts, 1692. For 17 months, the good Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony turned into serial killers – targeting grandmothers, widows, and farmers for humiliation and destruction. We’ll be talking to historians, writers, and artists to unpack the story of Salem and find out why it remains the reason why we call a witch hunt a “Witch Hunt.”

The show premieres on Sunday, September 18, 2016, and will be available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast providers.

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